Medical marijuana dispensary review: Green Cross Clinic

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This dispensary has closed.

Not to be confused with Mile High Green Cross on Broadway (or any of the dozens of dispensaries around the state that use a green cross for their business), Green Cross Clinic recently took over the former Alternative Wellness Center space on 38th, with two other dispensaries as neighbors.

Green Cross Clinic

2647 W. 38th Avenue Denver, CO 80211 303-455-1119

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Sundays. Marijuana prices: $25-$40/ 3.5 grams depending on quality. Online menu?: No. Handicap-accessible?: Yes.

Green Cross Clinic really hasn't really done much to their new digs yet. Most of the remnants of Alternative Wellness are still there. The now-unused waiting room still has the same stained concrete flooring, and the original L-shaped metal and wood bud bar is still in the same spot. It looked like Alternative Wellness Center had moved out, leaving only blank walls and their sneeze guard-like glass display counters behind. Appropriately for the season, Green Cross has the feel of one of those Halloween stores that move into old Office Depot locations for a few weeks out of the year.

Staff was friendly, though, and I was welcomed with a grand "Come on back!" from a guy I assumed was the owner when I walked in the front doors of the place. Another patient was shopping ahead of me, but the budtender still took my red card and ID for a quick photocopy and I was on my way checking out the strains.

Green Cross had a wide range of quality and prices for their herb, starting at $25 an eighth for the low-end, still moist buds of Blue Dream all the way up to the $40, top shelf strains. Those included Cherry Cola and a pretty sample of Grape Reaper that looked like old-school Thai stick straight out of a '70s Cheech and Chong film. Green Cross Clinic's Chocolope and Diesel Kush -- both priced at the $40 range -- were also worthwhile strains to check out.

But that was based on looks alone. Sure, the small, white-porcelain, sushi-style dishes displaying a picture-perfect bud of each strain were visually appealing in the shop -- but leaving buds out in open air like that really destroys the natural odors and smells by over-drying the sample. It's really hard to tell the overall quality of the buds when the olfactory experience is removed from the equation.

The only selection of hash was in the form of Green Crack BHO selling for $35. Not a bad price, actually, and the flaky yellow hash on display in the shop was among the more appealing items on the shelves. A decent array of edibles from three or four different vendors were displayed on the glass-covered counter tops where Alternative Wellness Center used to display cannabis flowers.

There wasn't a price board up, nor does the shop have an online menu (or even a website) for reference. But I was told grams are all $10 a pop -- which doesn't make the most sense when your top strains sell for $40 an eighth and others go for $25-30 an eighth. But I wasn't going to argue considering I was coming out on top of the deal.

Sort of. The downside is that everything is pre-weighed into grams and eighths in sealed medical pop-top jars. I've never been cool with pre-weighed bags because it's almost never the same quality as the best-of-the-bunch samples on display. But Green Cross Clinic takes it one annoying step further and makes it impossible to get a sniff at the strains by sealing the top of the take-home jars with shrink-wrap and wrapping about 3/4 of the jar with a label.

All of that is an easy fix, though. The shop just needs to get some small, clear glass display jars with a seal on them and ditch bottling up meds ahead of time. That said, it won't fix all of Green Cross Clinic's problems. Some attention needs to be paid to the garden as a whole, for one thing. And buds like the discounted Blue North had little bag appeal to them, with even top-shelf strains like the Cheese and Master Kush probably lacking strain-distinct smells even if they were in airtight jars. The buds I took home were (predictably) nowhere near as appealing as the ones I looked at in the shop, and one of the strains was still wet enough that stems were bending instead of snapping.

On the other hand, the shop is centered in the middle of a thick residential area and neighbors nearby clearly like having a medical marijuana center nearby selling cheap herb. Two other people were in during my visit and both made it sound like they had just walked from around the corner and were grabbing their daily grams of herb and hash. And for that purpose, it wasn't a bad shop. I didn't see any major pest problems and the herb wasn't awful -- just not great.

Page down for strain reviews and photos. Diesel Kush As I mentioned, the buds in the shop had been sitting out all day and there was no way to get a good bead on the actual smell of the herb without grinding up the sample in my fingers -- something I'm sure they would not have appreciated. But the sample in the shop looked solid, with dark green sugar leaves that faded to lime and featured a coating of sparkly silver crystals. But that's not really what I brought home. The one decent bud in my jar was still moist and the stems bent and twisted instead of snapping neatly. There was no rubbery, tart Kush finish to the smell, either. Instead, it was more of an unintended seaweed/wet hay odor with a brief hint of citrusy Diesel. The taste was better than the smell, thankfully, with brief hint of orange-flavored rubbery kushiness behind an otherwise generic and rough ganja smoke due to the moisture leftover. It goes without saying that better flushing, drying and curing would do this a world of wonders. But I'll say it anyway. Element 113 (Rocket Fuel) This is the shop's in-house indica, which the budtender told me has "top secret" origins. It was the only bud in the shop that still had some smell to it, offering up a hint of its hazy lineage. But what I brought home would have been better used for giveaway in-house joints. It also proves my point that pre-weighed meds tend to be buds that a budtender wouldn't try selling to you face to face. That said, the Element 113 was exponentially better than the Diesel Kush in terms of drying and curing. Popping the lid of this jar let out a Pledge lemon freshness, like someone had recently dusted my desk. The smell came out well in the taste of the first hit or two from a clean pipe, and some bowls tickled the nose to a sneeze with their haziness. Despite what I was told, this strain was sativa-speedy for me during the first 45 minutes before mellowing out to a very front-brain buzz. Nothing uber-potent, but certainly one of the better things on the shelves at Green Cross Clinic. Green Crack BHO The gram out in the sample dish in the shop was glistening like chunks of golden wax with a consistency of small pellets, not unlike some well-made icewater exctraction. And though it had been sitting out with the rest of the display buds, I could still pick up a distinct Green Crack strain smell. The gram I brought home was just as good as the display, with a more pronounced chronic smell from being locked up tight for a few days. Chunks in a bowl melted down and the Green Crack BHO was strong enough for me to notice the potency increase with just a few flakes. But it sizzled when dabbed on a skillet and left a slight burning wire smell in the air afterward. It's almost there -- but almost there with a chemical-extracted hash is still freaky enough to scare me away from any more dabs.

Read more dispensary reviews from William Breathes in our Mile Highs and Lows blog, check out the latest in ganja-related gear over at Stoner MacGyver, and keep up with all your marijuana news over at The Latest Word.

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